Grazing the Net
Greg Henderson and Friends
Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining.
Taste Test for Pig Semen?
Mar 17, 2014
We're not sure if this fits into the category of natural, sustainable farming or disgusting factory farming techniques. But it is low-tech. Vermont-born Sabrina Estabrook-Russett is a veterinary student in Scotland where she was sent for an on-farm learning experience about capturing boar semen with a Slovenian farmer. After gathering the semen she was instructed the semen must be tested for quality. Veterinary students, Estabrook-Russett says, are unfazed by the "wide array of horrendous bodily fluids we encounter on a near-daily basis." Yet, she was unprepared for what the Slovenian said next. "We test by ALL the senses: see, touch, smell, taste. You want taste?" No. We want change majors.
It must be March Madness. No, we're not talking about college basketball. We're referring to Kathy Stevens' prediction that America will be 100% vegan by 2050.
That's an optimistically naive prediction since only about 2-3% of the population is vegan today, and only 16% of Americans described themselves as "flexitarian," which means consuming a vegetarian diet part of the time. Using that description, I guess we're flexitarian, too. There was that meal back in August where we didn't consume any meat.
But if we're going to stop eating meat altogether within 36 years, we'll have to find a new source of stearic acid which is used in car tires. In fact, dry wall, paint, sugar and asphalt all contain ingredients derived from cows.
Florida's Python Problem
Florida spends half a billion dollars a year trying to rid itself of invasive species, but the state is about to give up trying to rid the Everglades of pythons. Last year the state organized the Python Challenge and enlisted 1,500 volunteers to help capture some of the estimated 100,000 pythons living in the Everglades. They caught 68. Officials also warned snake hunters not to eat python meat due to increased levels of mercury.
The Kobe Beef of Pork
A Michigan farmer believes the Hungarian pigs he's importing will become known as the Kobe beef of pork, since the meat is highly marbled. The breed, Mangalistsa, is also known for strikingly long, coarse hair, which may provide some advantages for raising the hogs in a free-range atmosphere.